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Donald Trump

In: Social Issues

Submitted By rohan2307
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The Guardian

Family fortunes

The conventional nuclear family is already a thing of the past: the challenge for 2020 is dealing with the results of its disappearance. By Madeleine Bunting

Saturday 25 September 2004 * * The past 30 years has been a generation of dramatic change in the shape of family life. That pace will not be continued in the next 20.
The next two decades will be a period in which already well-established trends are consolidated. That is the consensus among researchers. And all are agreed that by 2020 it will be very hard to talk of a "typical family", such will be the variety of shapes and types of families.
The most marked characteristic of families since the 1960s has been that the traditional conception of the British family has disintegrated. The married couple with 2.4 children is disappearing. The sequence of life events - marriage, sex and children - has been radically reordered. Marriage rarely comes first and increasingly does not happen at all. Over the past 30 years, levels of cohabitation have trebled, the number of babies born outside marriage has quintupled, and the number of single-parent families has trebled.
The most dramatic change, however, has been to the "happy ever after" bit in the picture of family life. In the past 30 years, the rate of divorce has doubled; and half of all children now experience their parents' divorce before they are 16.
All four trends - cohabitation, divorce, births outside marriage and single parents - are likely to be even more pronounced by 2020. There is no evidence that any of them are easing. Much has been made of the fact that the divorce rate appears to have reached a plateau - Britain has the highest divorce rate in Europe - but it is still rising in first marriages. Cohabitation arrangements are even more likely to break down than marriages. So what will be accepted...

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